ISLAMABAD: After hectic behind-the-scene efforts, involving key gamers together with Pakistan, the representatives of the Afghan authorities and the Taliban are anticipated to satisfy in China this month, in a growth that rekindles the hopes for a peaceable finish to the lingering Afghan struggle.
The transfer comes in opposition to the backdrop of prisoner-exchange deal between Afghan authorities and the Taliban. Pakistan is believed to have performed a central function in securing the prisoners swap.
It occurred the identical day when a high-powered Pakistani delegation, comprising Inter-Providers intelligence (ISI) chief Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed and International Secretary Sohail Mahmood, was in Kabul.
An official aware of the event informed The News Observers that Pakistan acted as ‘go-between’ the Afghan authorities and the Taliban to safe the discharge of two American professors in change for Taliban prisoners, together with Anas Haqqani, the youthful brother of Sirajuddin Haqqani, who’s second-in-command within the Afghan Taliban hierarchy.
President Ashraf Ghani confirmed the prisoner-swap deal in a televised addressed on Tuesday, saying he took the initiative to pave the way in which for direct talks with the Taliban representatives.
The prisoners had been launched on November 12 from Bagram jail, Ghani mentioned in a stay information convention, although he didn’t say once they could be let loose, in accordance with the Reuters.
Nevertheless, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and BBC Pashto reported on authority of sources that the Taliban prisoners, Anas Haqqani, brother of Sirajuddin Haqqani, Hafiz Rashid Omari and Haji Milli Khan, had been launched. All three had been captured in 2014.
The freed militants “will likely be despatched to Qatar below US supervision”, an unnamed Afghan official informed RFE/RL. Forward of the discharge, the Afghan president mentioned the prisoners would solely be freed if the Taliban in flip launched US citizen Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks who had been kidnapped in August 2016 from the American College of Afghanistan in Kabul.
The prisoner-exchange deal is seen as important in view of the continuing efforts to revive the stalled peace course of. The Taliban, though met totally different Afghan teams in Russia and in Doha earlier, have till now refused to immediately interact with the Kabul administration, calling them as US puppets.
Nevertheless, Pakistan in addition to different gamers, together with China, has been for therefore lengthy pushing the Taliban to speak to the Afghan authorities. China was initially scheduled to carry intra-Afghan dialogue within the final week of October however the assembly was postponed to provide extra time to all sides for a significant engagement.
Whereas the Afghan authorities requested the Taliban to declare a month-long ceasefire, the rebel group sought the discharge of Anas Haqqani, who was in Afghan authorities’s custody since 2014.
US Particular envoy Zalmay Khalilzad visited each Kabul and Islamabad late final month to discover a method out of the deadlock within the peace course of. Pakistan, which hosted the Taliban delegation led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar final month, performed an ‘energetic function’ to interrupt the stalemate on the prisoners change, mentioned the official.
The official added that the change of prisoners now cleared the hurdle in holding intra-Afghan dialogue in China later this month. It’s nevertheless not clear if the Taliban would conform to a ceasefire as demanded by each the US and Afghan authorities.
In the meantime, with a purpose to put together floor for the upcoming talks in Beijing, China’s Particular Envoy on Afghan Affairs, Ambassador Deng Xijun, visited Islamabad on Tuesday and met the overseas secretary.
An official hand out mentioned, the overseas secretary shared Pakistan’s perspective on Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations, Afghanistan’s peace and reconciliation course of, and Afghanistan-China-Pakistan trilateral dialogue.
The overseas secretary reaffirmed the significance Pakistan hooked up to a peaceable, steady, united, democratic and affluent Afghanistan. Reiterating Pakistan’s robust dedication to a political settlement in Afghanistan, he underscored Pakistan’s hopes for early resumption of the stalled peace course of.
The overseas secretary appreciated China’s constructive contributions to Afghanistan’s nationwide growth and warranted the envoy of Pakistan’s continued help on this context.
Ambassador Xijun mentioned that the shut cooperation between China and Pakistan was important to make sure that the Afghan peace and reconciliation course of continued to maneuver ahead.
He famous that Pakistan had an necessary and distinctive function within the promotion of Afghan peace course of and China seemed ahead to working intently with Pakistan on this regard. The 2 sides agreed to proceed their mutual engagement bilaterally in addition to within the context of four-party talks.